How We Get All Our Homeschooling Materials {Affordably} |
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How We Get All Our Homeschooling Materials {Affordably}

admin May 15, 2019

How We Get All Our Homeschooling Materials {Affordably}

 

I know lots of people who spend hundreds on homeschooling materials for their kids each year, but I just can’t bring myself to do that.  I know we won’t use most of it.  I know we’ll pick and choose what works for us.  Also, I like to have a wide variety of different things to choose from.  So, I just don’t buy a curriculum-in-a-box.

 

Luckily, there are a lot of amazing resources available now, so teaching is not all on you.  It’s possible to build your child’s education with resources, both free and low-cost, to build up an awesome experience for your child, completely dependent on their interests!

 

I’ve been talking a lot about homeschooling with other moms lately because so many people are thinking about starting this year.  What with everything that’s going on: long-term distance learning, masks in the classroom, reduced staffing, social distancing, and the list keeps growing.  Many have always been in public school, and they have no idea where to start.

 

I get it.

 

I thought I’d give you all a peek at where we get supplies, what we’re loving for our kids right now, and how we’re using these resources to support our kids’ talents and passions.  

 

Make sure you sign up for my email list too, so you can grab my record-keeping documents!  (They’re free, and a great way to track what your homeschooler is actually doing.)

 

Back to School Supplies

 

Whether homeschooling a young child or a teen, some supplies are always helpful! Here are some of the items we get during the back to school sales going on (typically happening late July – mid/late August):

 

  • Crayons ($0.50/box or less)
  • Markers ($1/box or less)
  • Colored pencils ($1/box or less)
  • Pencils ($1 for 20-ct. box or less)
  • Pencil sharpeners ($0.50 each or less)
  • Notebooks ($0.20 each or less)
  • Binders ($1 each)
  • Rulers ($0.50 each or less)
  • Glue ($0.50 each or less)
  • Glue sticks ($1 for 4 or less)

 

Costco

 

Believe it or not, Costco sometimes has awesome deals on office stuff.

  • Construction paper ($12 – $14 for 600 sheets)
  • Workbooks ($10 each for multiple subjects)
  • Kids’ early reader book sets ($10 or less for 5 – 6 books)
  • Learning rugs or decorative items

 

Amazon

 

Here, we get a hodge-podge of items!  Sometimes they have one-day deals that are awesome, so look for those (many homeschooling blogs will share).

 

 

Five Below

 

This store isn’t everywhere, but if there is one near you, you must go.  They have tons of stuff and everything is $5 or less.

 

  • Science kits (crystal growing, slime making, super ball creating, etc.)
  • Various science experiment books
  • Art books/bits (origami, drawing lessons, “adult” coloring books)
  • Math workbooks (Smart Alec series)
  • “Did you know” type books (random facts, world’s grossest, etc.)
  • Outdoor play items (balls, nets, etc.)
  • Play-Doh


Our Favorite Online Resources for Homeschooling

Our family unschools, which basically means that our kids completely direct their education.  That doesn’t mean we ignore them and let them figure it all out on their own; it means that we work closely with them to help them learn — but they get to decide what they really do.  If this is a totally unique idea for you, don’t miss my post on Unschooling Questions if you are not sure how it really works!  (You can find all my posts on unschooling HERE.)

 

We’re lucky to have an awesome local community that helps meet a lot of our needs.  We have friends with talents in art, music, math, science, sports, and lots more.  We meet weekly for a homeschool coop where we mostly do little science projects.  (And we handle core subjects this way.)

 

But there are things our kids are interested in that either we don’t have the skills to do on our own, or we don’t have the time to do, which is where some of our favorite online resources come in!

 

One of our new favorite online resources is called Outschool.

 

Have you ever wished there was a virtual classroom, with a teacher who is available live to teach your child any subject imaginable?  Well, this is it.  They have hundreds of teachers and over 15,000 different classes, on everything from anatomy to animal studies to cake decorating to engineering, and lots more.

 

Classes are available for kids 3 – 18.  Some are one-time meetings, and some meet for several weeks (or even a full semester).  Some are 30-min classes, some are longer.  There’s a huge, wide range available.  Costs vary from about $6 to $15 for a one-time class, so it’s pretty affordable.  (Costs are higher for multi-day or week classes, of course.)

 

For us, we were looking into engineering classes especially.  My 11-year-old decided a couple years ago that he wants to be an engineer, and spends his day building things and drawing designs, and he can’t wait to take some classes to learn more.  I’m excited that he can explore this passion at a young age and either decide it isn’t for him (before he invests thousands into a college education!) or decide it definitely is for him, and get a bunch of early, beneficial experiences.

 

Classes we’ve done or we’re considering right now:

 

  • An Introduction to Engineering
  • Engineering of Everyday Things for Kids
  • How to Take Things Apart Safely
  • The Perilous Castle: An Immersive Murder Mystery Experience
  • Creates of Myth: The Deep Sea
  • High school physics
  • Intro to Psychology (my 13-year-old is considering counseling as a career)

 

A lot of these will give the kids a taste of a new subject before we have to invest in traditional classes, plus it gives them a comfortable start before jumping into it.  We’re really excited about it.

 

In addition to homeschoolers, Outschool has plenty of summer/evening/weekend classes so that families can use them as enrichment opportunities for the kids, no matter where they go to school.

 

By the way, if you’d like to look into it, or try out a class or two, sign up HERE and get $20 off your first class! 


Other Favorite Online Resources

 

We also really enjoy:

 

 

We have tried Reading Eggs/Math Seeds, and…I’m not a big fan.  My 9-year-old didn’t really like Reading Eggs.  He found it kind of boring, and the lessons seemed to jump all over the place in terms of difficulty.  

 

In one section, it would ask my 9-year-old to tap the screen each time a letter popped up, and then in the next section it was asking him to read a short story!  His skill level fell decidedly in the middle of those two, so he quickly grew frustrated and gave up.

 

My 7-year-old likes it better, and has used it on and off for the last couple of years.  (We’ve had more success with the BOB books, though.)

 

Math Seeds we liked a little better…but found it rather slow to progress, and not all the skill sections made sense.  For example, at a fairly early level, the student had to pick out the written word “seventeen” (and other number words). That’s not a math skill – that’s a reading skill – and no, my then-5-year-old couldn’t read that word yet.  My 7-year-old almost tested into a way too easy math level on the initial test because of reading questions, so I had him redo it.

 

So…they’re sort of fun, they have brightly colored graphics and fun music, and kids like “playing” with it.  But I didn’t feel the activities matched the appropriate skill sets or built on each other well, so when our free trial ran out, I didn’t purchase a subscription.

 

Those are just my thoughts!  I hope it’s helpful. 🙂

 

Where do you get the best deals on your homeschooling materials? What are your favorite online resources?

 

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2 Comments

  1. We have local homeschool sale or swap every year
    I got everything I need for the next year yesterday, all for $70! I also watch for free online print off, etc

    Reply

  2. […] are many ways to get your homeschooling materials affordably. And the savings will be considerably less than sending your kids to a private […]

    Reply

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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